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[365] the compromise; being well aware that the pleasantry originated in no personal or sectarian prejudice.

He always had something facetious to say to the people with whom he traded. The oyster-men, the coal-men, and the women at the fruit-stalls in his neighborhood, all knew him as a pleasant old gentleman, always ready for a joke. One day, when he was buying some peaches, he said to the woman, ‘A serious accident happened at our house last night. I killed two robbers.’ ‘Dear me!’ she exclaimed. ‘Were they young men, or old convicts? Had they ever been in Sing Sing?’ ‘I don't know about that,’ replied he. ‘I should think they might have been by the noise they made. But I despatched them before they had stolen much. The walls are quite bloody.’ ‘Has a Coroner's inquest been called?’ inquired the woman. When he answered, ‘No,’ she lifted her hands in astonishment, and exclaimed, ‘Well now, I do declare! If anybody else had done it, there would have been a great fuss made about it; but you are a privileged man, Mr. Hopper.’ When he was about to walk away, he turned round and said, ‘I did not mention to thee that the robbers I killed were two mosquitoes.’ The woman had a good laugh, and he came home as pleased as a boy, to think how completely his serious manner had deceived her.

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Isaac T. Hopper (1)
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